Simulation of the Argo Observing System

The Argo array ( currently consists of more than 3500 instruments that make vertical profiles of temperature and salinity every 9-10 days over the upper 1500-2000 meters. The array provides the scientific community with a wealth of data that are used in a variety of studies aimed at determining the state of the global upper ocean and detecting changes in this state.


The main goal of this study is to employ a suite of Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE) in order to assist all users of the real Argo data in interpretation of data and in development of analysis techniques, and to provide guidance on the optimal design of the Argo observing systems.


The oceanic fields, simulated in ocean general circulation models, are sub-sampled in ways similar to how the Argo float array samples the ocean, reconstructed and compared with the direct model fields. This procedure leads to quantification of errors in reconstructions of the oceanic state by the actual Argo array and understanding of factors that control these errors. These reconstruction errors can be used as a convenient metric for the evaluation and development of analysis techniques, as well as for the optimization of the observing system design.

The analysis is carried out in a suite of numerical models: (i) coarse resolution global model; (ii) eddy-resolving model of the North Atlantic; (iii) global eddy-resolving (1/12o), data assimilating HYCOM model.

The funding for this project has been provided by the NOAA Climate Program Office, Climate Observation Division

Data from these simulations – synthetic profiles and float locations and full model fields – are available here (under construction).

Reconstruction of the sea surface temperature (SST) from the simulated Argo profiles during one 10-day period (Dec.1-10, 2006). Top panel: SST values at the synthetic profile locations. Bottom panel: reconstructed SST field.